A Special Christmas Story

Contributed by Warren Ludlam

Jon Wells and Ashley Hayes, two of the volunteer pilots on the Greensboro Rotary/Angel Flight team, recently flew a very special Christmas mission of compassion.  Little Hazel, a beautiful 20 month-old child from High Point who has been on dialysis 23 hours a day with a genetic kidney mutation and living in the hospital since her birth, received a new kidney in transplant surgery performed at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem just before Christmas.  This was an early Christmas present from a 44 year-old matching donor whom Angel Flight had flown down from her home in New York State.

Several days following the surgery, Jon and Ashley flew the donor and her best friend/escort half way home – with our Rotary club’s fuel fund paying for the aircraft fuel they used.  They rendezvoused with a second volunteer Angel Flight pilot in Maryland, who took the two ladies in his private plane on to their final destination in New York…back home in time for Christmas, having given little Hazel the gift of a new kidney and a much better life.

With the assistance of Angel Flight’s national headquarters in Virginia Beach, VA, Greensboro Rotary and the four volunteer pilots involved provided the free round trip air transportation – as usual, at no cost to the donor or Hazel’s parents.

Kidney donor and little Hazel
Kidney donor and little Hazel

Greensboro Rotary/Angel Flight pilots Ashley Hayes and Jon Wells, with the donor
Greensboro Rotary/Angel Flight pilots Ashley Hayes
and Jon Wells, with the donor

This was a very special, life changing Christmas present for Hazel and her parents to receive just before Christmas from such an incredibly unselfish, generous person as the donorGreensboro Rotary again demonstrated its commitment to community service, partnering with Angel Flight to continue helping those in need.   It was a happy Christmas story with a heartwarming ending for a little girl given her new freedom.